• KGS/USD = 0.01119 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09136 0.22%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01119 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09136 0.22%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

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EU and UNICEF Help Kazakhstan Reintegrate Children Returned from Syria and Iraq

When the so-called Islamic State established a self-declared 'caliphate' in 2014, thousands of nationals of Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan, travelled to Iraq and Syria to join IS ranks. Many moved with their families and subsequently, many children were born in IS controlled conflict zones between 2014-2019. Kazakhstan has so far evacuated 526 of these children and with aid from the European Union (EU) funded programme "EU-UN Support to the States in Central Asia for their Citizens Returned from Conflict Zones, Primarily Syria, and Iraq," offered comprehensive support for their adaptation to life back home. The programme aims to assist returnee women, children, and families by encouraging their reintegration into local communities and ensuring they receive protection, access to social services, and education. During the first phase, Kazakhstan in collaboration with UNICEF, established a National Resource Center to train and equip specialists working with returned children and provide psychosocial services and professional guidance to returnees. “Our common goal is to ensure that all returnee children continue to receive the necessary support to recover from their experiences as well as the opportunity to learn, develop, and adapt to Kazakhstani culture and tradition,” said Laetitia Bazzi-Vale, acting UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kairat Umarov noted that whilst significant progress has been made in the gradual reintegration of returnees into society, “our children still need psychological and social support." The Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan reported that on February 23rd, representatives of the EU, UNICEF, and the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs met in Astana to discuss the implementation of the second phase of reintegrating further returnee children and their families. Initiatives discussed included a program of activities designed to assist local executive bodies and schools working in this sensitive field. Kestutis Jankauskas, the EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan, stated: “We have been supporting an important programme to reintegrate returnee children in Kazakhstan for several years now. The cooperation of UNICEF, the European Union, and the Kazakhstani authorities aims to create conditions for the children’s successful social adaptation, and we are pleased to see positive results.”

Government Addresses Electricity Generation

In order to ensure a reliable supply of power, in the coming years Kazakhstan will gradually be introducing new energy-generating capacities and modernizing existing power plants. The country is also aiming for a significant reduction in coal-based electricity generation through the introduction of renewable energy sources and electricity generated from natural gas. At a government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov on January 16th, Energy Minister, Almasadam Satkaliev reported that there are 220 power plants in operation in Kazakhstan, including 144 renewable energy facilities with a total capacity of 2.8 GW. As of January 1st, 2024, the country’s total available generation capacity was 20.4 GW, and the maximum consumption in the current autumn-winter period was 16.6 GW. The minister said that in 2023, Kazakhstan’s electrical energy consumption was 115 billion kWh, compared to 112.9 billion kWh in 2022. Power generation amounted to 112.8 billion kWh, the import of electrical energy was 3.4 billion kWh, and export 1.4 billion kWh. The Prime Minister emphasized that the Head of State had ordered that an additional generating capacity of at least 14 GW be commissioned, which is also necessary to achieve the goal of doubling the country’s GDP. “To do this, we need rapid development of the energy industry,” Smailov said. To achieve a 15% share of renewable energy by 2030, major projects will be implemented with strategic investors, such as Total Energies, ACWA Power and Masdar, he stated.

Kazakhstan Launches Online Video Conferencing Platform

The Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan has announced the launch of Qosyl, an online video conferencing platform which is analogous to Zoom. The launch of the system in pilot mode is now complete, and central government agencies are now using the software for video conferencing. The Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry, Bagdat Musin emphasized the importance of the project. “Today, government agencies actively use online platforms to hold meetings, which saves time for civil servants. The Qosyl project ensures that meetings are held in a secure information environment, which is especially important for government agencies,” said Musin. According to the project manager, Nurislan Isakov, “this plan was created in 2020, during the pandemic. There were requests from government agencies to create an online video conferencing platform which would not depend on foreign manufacturers and would not use their servers. It was a prerequisite that the product run on servers in Kazakhstan, which ensures information security. “Due to the fact that the servers are located in Kazakhstan,” Isakov continued, “all media traffic does not pass through foreign countries. The second point, when compared with Zoom, is that our product is easier to use, even for an inexperienced user. It does not require downloading additional applications; you can connect through any browser on any device.”

The NeMolchi.kz Foundation: Unraveling the Controversy Surrounding Dina Tansari

In a recent development, Dina Tansari, the head of the public foundation "NeMolchi.kz," has found herself at the center of six criminal cases, two of which involve allegations of fraud, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Tansari, also known as Dinara Smailova, stands accused of disseminating false information, infringing upon privacy rights, and engaging in fraudulent activities, as outlined by the police investigations. The foundation she leads, "NeMolchi.kz," primarily focuses on advocating against violence targeting women and children in Kazakhstan. However, investigations have revealed alleged discrepancies in Tansari's actions. Forensic examinations indicate a tendency in her publications toward accusatory tones, built solely on subjective perspectives, as stated by authorities. Moreover, reports suggest that since 2021, while residing outside Kazakhstan, she used social media to solicit funds supposedly intended to aid victims of violence. One notable incident involves the publication of misleading information in April 2023 about the alleged suicide of a girl in Ust-Kamenogorsk. Tansari's subsequent posts expressing condolences and mistrust of police statements were deemed false. Consequently, these actions led to a criminal case based on the charge of hooliganism and injury to a minor, which was forwarded to court. Despite these circumstances, Tansari initiated a fundraising campaign purportedly for the victim's legal counsel, amassing over 20 million tenge ($44,000). However, only a fraction was utilized for the intended purpose. An analysis of financial data, sanctioned by the court, disclosed that funds intended for the foundation were diverted to Tansari's husband's personal account and spent on her personal expenses abroad, violating laws governing non-profit organizations. This turn of events led law enforcement to place Tansari on the wanted list on December 27th. In response, she expressed her concerns on Instagram, highlighting that seven individuals were victims in her case and appealing for support from the people of Kazakhstan. Previously, Tansari reported the fund's accounts being blocked in November, and faced accusations of fraud by the East Kazakhstan police in early December. Subsequently, she and her husband, Almat Mukhamedzhanov, sought political asylum in Europe, claiming persecution due to NeMolchi.kz's activities. Established in 2017, "NeMolchi.kz" focuses on addressing violence against women and children in Kazakhstan through donations. Despite the recent controversy, the foundation has been active in initiating criminal cases against 81 alleged rapists over the past five years. The foundation offers a diverse array of support to victims, spanning legal, psychological, and medical aid, alongside educational initiatives and legislative advocacy for victim protection. While Tansari's current predicament unfolds, the legacy of "NeMolchi.kz" in aiding victims and fighting against violence remains a significant aspect of its ongoing mission, both within Kazakhstan and across various neighboring countries.

Kazakhstan Seeks to Increase Investment Attractiveness of Exploration for Hydrocarbons

On December 28th, a law “On Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Subsoil Use and Ecology” was signed, which, among others, is aimed at increasing the investment attractiveness of geological exploration for hydrocarbons, encouraging investment in depleting deposits, and fixing the minimum amount of equity participation (50% or more) of the national company in the field of hydrocarbons in large deposits. In an address to the nation on September 1st, President Tokayev had stated that “Geological exploration requires special attention. In 2018, in order to replenish the mineral resource base, new legislation was adopted to manage the mining sector. However, it did not work in full. As a result, there have been no significant geological discoveries in our resource-rich country for a long time. This situation urgently needs to be rectified.” The relevant departments were then tasked with modernizing the mining sector management system as soon as possible, reducing the time-frame and procedures for approving projects by introducing comprehensive state expertise and the complete digitization of the process. The implementation of the law will give additional impetus to investment in geological exploration in the field of hydrocarbons in Kazakhstan, the Energy Ministry stated.

Twelve Regional IT-Hubs Operating in Kazakhstan

The development of regional IT hubs is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan, the ministry stated on January 3rd. The goal of regional IT hubs is the development of innovative projects in the regions and the training of specialists in the field of information technology. These platforms are also a space for creating local IT communities, bringing together startups and investors. The main task of regional IT hubs is to help young entrepreneurs organize startup projects. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also spoke about the importance of expanding the innovation ecosystem at a regional level when delivering his Address to the Nation last year. Today, 12 regional IT-hubs are officially open and successfully functioning across Kazakhstan: Abai IT Valley (Semey, Abai Oblast), Kyzylorda Hub (Kyzylorda city), Digital Jetisu (Taldylkorgan city), Zhambyl Hub (Taraz city), Oskemen IT Hub (Oskemen city), Jaiq Hub (Uralsk city), Turkistan IT Hub (Turkistan city), Qostanai IT Hub (Qostanai city), Aqtobe IT Hub (Aqtobe city), Pavlodar Hub (Pavlodar city), Aqmola IT Hub (Kokshetau city), and Terricon Valley (Karaganda city). These IT-hubs have presented 194 promising startup projects from the regions.

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